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St. Petersburg flashback: 2003 race debut

Mar 18, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - Day 1 Getty Images

The 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks 10 years since the first open-wheel race on the streets of St. Pete. The Champ Car series raced here in February, 2003.

A bespectacled young Frenchman named Sebastien Bourdais made his debut on the U.S. shores that race. He took to the track and Lola-Ford Cosworth car like a duck to water, scoring the pole position for Newman/Haas Racing. His race was less successful, ending in 11th place after issues in the pits.

Meanwhile, Paul Tracy romped to the victory that kick-started his championship winning season. Michel Jourdain Jr. and Bruno Junqueira, who each had a one-off drive in IndyCar last year, completed the podium.

Bourdais (right, last year), is one of only four drivers from the inaugural St. Pete running who will also race here this year. Veterans Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani were in the field, as was Ryan Hunter-Reay, in his Champ Car series debut. Hunter-Reay drove as teammate to KV Racing Technology co-owner, Jimmy Vasser.

  1. gbfan83 - Mar 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    The Champ RHR driving the American Spirit car….wow 10 years already.

  2. Keith Collantine - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    As much as I’m looking forward to the new season, this is a race that often leaves me feeling underwhelmed. It’s not a track that produces particularly good races. I definitely won’t miss it, though, will make a good double-header with the Malaysian Grand Prix.

    • convincedofthehex - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Try standing against the fence going in to Turn 1 on the outside on the airport side, there is great action almost every lap.

  3. sirheady - Mar 21, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Its kind of become a prestigious race and will become more prestigious as time goes on. The Dan Wheldon Connection and the East Coast Long Beach make it appropriate to be labeled a “Major”. I think it is nearing Long Beach Status.

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